Superb functionality and impeccable craftsmanship are the pillars of both automotive design and the tradition of fine watchmaking. So it makes sense that they should be married in one definitive piece of luxury. Enter the Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph, which was just on display at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, in Geneva.
Created as an expression of Ralph Lauren’s ability to forge worlds of design that represent not just beautiful objects, but a philosophy of living, the 2015 Automotive Chronograph represents an especially personal vision of watch design. Inspired by the instrument panel of Ralph Lauren’s legendary 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe, the Automotive Chronograph represents the height of legibility and beauty. The timepiece—like the dashboard and interior trim of the automobile itself—boasts a superbly controlled visual balance, and includes a handmade wooden dial element crafted from specially chosen loupe d’orme, or elm-burl wood. Fittingly, only veneers with the right concentration of knots and grains were chosen in order to give the dial the same visual detail and impact as the automobile’s instrument panel. The curved case horns and chronograph pushers go further to echo the graceful yet powerful lines of the automobile’s body.
A timepiece inspired by a high-performance automobile deserves an engine as refined as its design, which is why the movement—a self-winding caliber RL751A/1—runs in 39 jewels, beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, with a 65-hour power reserve. The Côtes de Genève and perlage movement finishing is a special decoration exclusive to Ralph Lauren.
Timepiece enthusiasts watching for the best introductions of this year had better act with speed. With its sharp black alligator strap, brown elm-burl-wood decor detail, beige printed Arabic numbers, shiny white baton hand, and stainless-steel crown with “RL” logo, the Automotive Chronograph is likely to drive off in the hand—or, on the wrist—of anyone who looks at it.